Friday, April 17, 2015

Baby you can't drive my car

I am not an expert driver. There's all sorts of reasons why this might be so, but perhaps the best is that I scarcely drove at all in the twenty years after passing my test just out of my teens. A few weeks driving between Oxford and Didcot to a mercifully short-lived employment in 1995 and that's pretty much it.

These days I drive round Spain to pursue my living and I'm perfectly safe on the roads, but those twenty-odd years have had their effect. I don't like city driving (all right,nobody does) and I can't park a car to save my life. So when we need to reverse the car into our lock-up, my wife, a proper driver, does it. So as I don't crash it or anything.

Like I say, there's all sorts of reasons why this might be so, but nobody's ever suggested that it might simply be because of my gender.

Here's Nigel Short in New In Chess last month. There's a few things about the piece that might be worth coming back to, but the ending is perhaps the best bit.

My thanks to Jon Manley for reminding me of the following, which makes the point unsubtly, and yet probably more subtly than I would have.

I'd have settled on something like this.

[Nigel Short index]


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't get quite so worked up about this. Looks like unoriginal column filler to me.


Jack Rudd said...

It is unoriginal column filler, but it's also yet another example of sustained casual sexism on Short's part.

an ordinary chessplayer said...

Right, the differences between the sexes are small compared to the differences between individuals. But has it become taboo to suggest that men and women might have differing natural abilities, *on average*, in ANY domain? I hope not.

I am pretty sure Mr. Short thought he was simply stating uncontroversial facts. I'm not sure his opinion here demonstrates sexism (which however does not mean that he is not sexist). What I think it does demonstrate is lack of emotional intelligence. Given a choice between kindness (ahimsa, non-violence) and truthfulness (satya, non-lying), we should choose kindness.

Andrew Gelman said...

I dunno, I'd think that women should be better at chess, since they don't have to spend so much of their brains worried about parking the car.

Now i'm wondering . . . does car-parking protect against Alzheimer's? There's room for a scientific study here!

Anonymous said...

Winter's Chess Note 9244 is of relevance, discussing the outrage created by Short's article:

- the yellow mushroom -

ejh said...

If Nigel Short’s New in Chess article contained factual mistakes, misquotations, faulty statistics, bad writing or plagiarism, there would be every reason to complain

As it goes, it does include at least one factual mistake (tune in tomorrow to find out). It also includes a fair number of bad arguments, albeit not in the part relating to Susan Polgar.